This was asked in our First Time Competitors Group on Facebook and found that many struggle with this as you have very different goals compared to the average gym goer.
When you have all of these social obligations, it can be hard to determine how to still enjoy your prep without feeling like you have to become a hermit crab as you are getting ready to step on the stage.
The thing is, you don't have to say no to every single thing. There are various ways to still enjoy your time and socialize and juggle your obligations as needed, but you will definitely need to have a plan in place prior to doing anything that way you are on track.
1. Have Set Clear Goals from the Beginning
Everyone has their own reasons for wanting to compete, you need to decide what your goals are and if having these social obligations can still fit into your prep and being able to get you to where you need to be in the time that you have.
Most preps are typically 12-16 weeks depending on how much change you need to make in order to be competitive on stage. Your coach would be able to help determine that for you if you are unsure how much time it will take.
Going out to drink every single weekend wouldn't be the best if you only have 12-16 weeks left... which brings me to my next point.
2. Plan Ahead
If you have any social obligations that you have to go to due to work or family gatherings, it will be important for you to plan ahead.
One way to do this is to bring your food with you every where that you go. There is hardly a time that I don't have my meals readily available to take with me to work, the gym, and to events.
Some coaches will give you some leeway and allow you to use macros. In this case you would be able to look at a menu ahead of time and plug in what you will be able to have in your day that works around everything else while keeping you on track.
Obviously the best option will always be to make and bring your own food though as most places will have meals loaded with sodium and usually higher in fats or carbs.
If you are ever unsure of what you will be able to do, consult your coach. They will be able to help guide you and give you options as what to do that will fit your plan. No ones prep is usually the same as someone else.
3. Learn to say 'NO'
You might want to go out and have a good time, and you definitely can but just know there will probably be temptations. If you have set clear goals from the beginning, it will be easier to turn down a cookie.
You should have a date in mind that you are aiming for. So with that date in mind, you will need to learn to say no to certain foods and things that won't fit into your goals and plans.
If you are someone who is like me and can't limit yourself sometimes to certain foods, I don't allow myself to have any of it... I know that if I did during prep, I wouldn't be able to stop myself from having only a couple pieces of something. That's not everyone though.
4. Manage your Time Wisely
Going through a prep is no joke, you will have to dedicate a lot of time in and outside of the gym to the bodybuilding lifestyle.
Prepping your meals for the week, training in the gym an average of 1 hour 5 times a week, getting 7-8 hours of sleep to recover, posing practice, etc...
Ways to manage your time:
- Have a plan in place for your prep, you don't really want to continue to guess from day to day what you need to do or it will take you longer to become ready to step on the stage
- Plan and make your meals ahead of time so that you don't have to make all of your meals fresh every single day. Most people don't have time for that.
- Prioritize your training and wake up earlier if you have to before work or go to bed later.
- Review your plan and make adjustments as needed based on your pictures and progress that you are making once a month.
- Concentrate on where you are and what you are working towards.
Accountability can go a long way!
If you struggle to stay on track towards your goals due to social obligations, you are not alone.
Many friends and family may not understand why this is a goal of yours so it is important to surround yourself with those who will understand and cheer you on.
This is why we created the Top Knot Strong Tribe and help clients all of the time with a plan to better fit their goals, needs, lifestyle, and abilities.
If you are interested in seeing if this is the best option for you, schedule a free 15 minute consultation today!